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Platform

I believe in ensuring that our state government is fiscally responsible with our taxpayer dollars, which means listening to all constituents and passing laws that address the concerns of the majority rather than the minority. It also means not wasting time and money on ill-conceived legislation that fails to consider the long-term impacts and too often leads to costly lawsuits. Here are some of the key concerns that I hear from District 1 voters:

1. To lower the cost of living, Idaho lawmakers need to:

Raise Idaho’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour,

which has not been increased since 2009. An Idaho worker needs to earn at least $11.75 per hour to cover basic needs, such as food, housing and transportation.

 

Fund child care.

Last session, Idaho’s GOP turned away millions in federal childcare grants – paid for with your tax dollars – putting local childcare centers in financial jeopardy and further limiting care options for parents.

 

Idaho’s childcare shortage cost the state $525 million last year as parents dropped out of the workforce due to childcare challenges, and contributed to the state’s historic labor shortage. If legislators provided a tax incentive to build new childcare centers, gave childcare tax credits and expanded the child tax credit – which is now only $205, not enough to pay for even a week – we could reduce the labor shortage and the burden on parents.

Switch to a progressive tax system. 

Currently, low- and middle-income families pay a disproportionate share of taxes, relative to their incomes than their richer counterparts.

Families who make less than $27,700 a year spend an average of 12.8% of it on income and property taxes. In comparison, residents who earn over $471,300 a year pay 7.7%.

Bring back the index to the homeowners exemption

so that property taxes are more fairly distributed among different types of properties. It was based on the sales price of homes and when it was removed in 2016, non-homeowner and commercial properties got significant property tax reductions while homeowners saw increases.

Scrap the grocery tax

to ease the financial burden on families in lower-income brackets.

Invest in the Idaho Housing Trust Fund created in 1992 by the Idaho Legislature to pay for the creation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of affordable homes.

Raising Hands

2. To bring back our doctors, Idaho lawmakers need to:
 

Stop criminalizing our obstetricians and other physicians.

Idaho's abortion laws treat women as second-class citizens and pose a threat to their health and safety should they become pregnant. Many of our best doctors have fled the state for locations where they can focus on medicine without the cloud of criminalization hanging over their heads. And recruiting physicians to take their place has proven difficult to impossible. We need to once again empower physicians to decide when an abortion is necessary to save a pregnant woman's life, save her health and her fertility.

The GOP last session also voted to criminalize doctors

  • and other adults who assist a minor with accessing abortion pills, or who assists them in any way to access an abortion.

 

  • who give hormonal care to minors who are seeking gender affirming care.

 

  • who provide healthcare to a minor without parental consent. The previous law allowed minors 14 and older to access care without parental consent. The services most often used were  birth control, mental health, and STD testing and treatment.

 

Reform Medicaid for children and pregnant women

by updating income cutoffs not changed in decades. Last year, the mortality rate rose 121.5% for Idaho moms, and 18% for children.

Bolster reimbursement for Medicaid services,

especially direct care workers, so elderly and disabled Idahoans can live as independently as possible for as long as possible. This workforce faces a 3,000-person shortage as workers can earn much higher wages in other industries. 

Reject attempts to dismantle Medicaid expansion.

Idaho voters support a strong Medicaid program so that no Idahoan goes without health care due to an inability to pay. Our rural hospitals depend on Medicaid. There are approximately 2,500 people in Bonner County on this insurance.

Doctor and Patient

3. To support public schools and libraries, Idaho lawmakers need to:

 

Make more state funds available for repairs and new buildings.

Not over 10 years, as Gov. Little wants, but now, as there are decades of neglect to make up for. And our rural school districts are likely to benefit the least from the $1.5 billion package as allocations will be based on attendance.

Reject HB 710,

which places an unnecessary burden of time and resources on our public and school libraries and has already caused some smaller libraries to close their doors to minors. 

Create a permanent fund in the state treasury

to support public school facilities, along with a needs-based funding process that could do away with local school bonds and give every student the learning environment they deserve. Funds could come from the $5.2 billion in sales tax exemptions that are never reviewed and never expire - some have been in place since the sixties. If just 10 percent of those were ruled obsolete, it would free up half a billion every year for schools.

Lower the two-thirds majority bar needed to pass bonds

to a 55% or 60% supermajority like most other states. Idaho spends less, per student, on schools than any other state. Restrictive policies created the current funding crisis that’s left rural schools with collapsing roofs, crumbling foundations, and freezing classrooms. Our rural districts will still need to go to the voters to fix these issues, even with funding from the governor's facilities bill, until there is a permanent funding solution.

Fix the 2018 state law that fines school district officials

for advocating for school bonds. Currently, they are so limited in what they can say that it makes it difficult for communities to grasp the issues schools are up against.

Reject voucher tax credits for private education,

which would syphon millions of dollars away from public schools with almost no accountability.

Resurrect HB 539,

which would notify parents and guardians of a student's involvement in harassment, intimidation, bullying, violence or self-harm.

Honor and respect our educators 

for their experience and expertise so we can retain and recruit teachers.

Empty Classroom

If elected, I will work to fix these and other issues of concern to my constituents,
and to represent everyone in my district, whether they vote for me or not. 

Lake Landscape

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